Orson Welles, Laurence Olivier and Joan Plowright all invoke a past era of movie-making that is very removed from the Hollywood of today. The three, however, will populate a Los Angeles stage in Orson's Shadow, opening April 14 at the Black Dahlia Theatre. Black Dahlia artistic director Matt Shakman directs.
Orson's Shadow, actor Austin Pendleton's third play, concerns the 1960 London premiere of Ionesco's Rhinoceros, which starred Olivier and was directed by Welles. At the time, Olivier was going through a nasty divorce from his second wife, actress Leigh, who named actress (and, from 1961, Olivier's third wife) Plowright as co-respondent in her divorce filing. Tynan was London's leading dramatic critic and all-around enfant terrible, a friend of both Welles and Olivier (he would co found the Royal National Theatre with Oliver in 1963), and a frequent sparring partner of Ionesco's.
Pendleton, best known as a performer (The Diary of Anne Frank, Finian's Rainbow) and director (The Runner Stumbles, The Little Foxes), is the author of two other plays, Booth, a bio-drama which starred Frank Langella as legendary actor Junius Booth, and Uncle Bob.
Orson's Shadow features Andrew Ableson, Geraldine Hughes, Steven Klein, Robert Machray, Jeff Sugarman and Dreya Weber.
Performances of Orson's Shadow began April 12 for a run through May 12. Tickets are $15. The Black Dahlia Theatre is located at 5453 Pico Boulevard. For reservations, call (323) 525-0070. -- By Christine Ehren
and Robert Simonson